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updated: 9/7/2013 10:34 AM

Chicago sees record number of overseas visitors

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Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Chicago saw a record number of international visitors last year as the city ramped up a campaign to promote itself as a business and tourism destination.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that the city welcomed 1.3 million international visitors in 2012. That's up 14 percent from the year before.

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Much of the growth was from Asian and South American markets, where the Choose Chicago campaign has focused on selling the city as a top tourism, convention and business destination.

The mayor's office says the increase has helped support record hotel construction this year as well as a hotel occupancy rate of more than 73 percent, the best rate the recession.

According to Emanuel's office, that hotel occupancy has produced more than $1 billion of revenue so far in 2013.

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